OSHA’s new Hazard Communication Standard requires employers to follow new guidelines modeled after GHS, the Globally Harmonized System. In this podcast, Dan Clark tells of OSHA’s ongoing standard changeover, and the recent June 1st, 2015 deadline requirements.
Safety Data Sheets must be easily accessible for all workers using hazardous chemicals.
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Dan Clark: If you’re dealing with hazardous chemicals in the workplace, you’re dealing with Safety Data Sheets. Workers need to access them at a moment’s notice.
Hello, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, tackling health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites, a service of Creative Safety Supply.
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OSHA has a long, four-year phase-in to align with GHS, the Globally Harmonized System. We’re now past the June 1st, 2015 deadline for chemical makers and importers to make the transition to Safety Data Sheets. Employees should already be trained in their use but it’s good to review.
What is the SDS, the Safety Data Sheet?
Chuck Paulausky: The Safety Data Sheets—what used to be called Material Safety Data Sheets.
Dan: That’s Chuck Paulausky of CP Safety And Environmental in Arizona.
Chuck: But apparently the rest of the world dropped, or has not used the word “material.” So we have adopted that. So we no longer call the information “Material Safety Data Sheets” or MSDSs, they’re now SDSs.
Dan: Chuck is a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager, and an expert on hazard communication.
OSHA revised their Hazard Communication Standard. Employees have been getting an influx of these new SDSs for the chemicals they use.
A Safety Data Sheet contains detailed info about a chemical’s health effects, safe practices for using it and much more. The new SDS format has 16 specific sections, so it’s very detailed.
• Employers must have a current Safety Data Sheet for every hazardous product covered by the Hazard Communication Standard that employees use, or may be exposed to as part of their work.
• Safety Data Sheets must always be available—this is important, I’ll repeat it—They must always be available to workers in their work areas. They can be in a binder or on a computer, but employees must be able to get to the info immediately, especially in an emergency.
• If on a computer, you must have a backup system in place in case of a power loss or a computer crash. A printed backup is always a good option.
OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard says you only need to keep Safety Data Sheets for chemicals that are present in the workplace.
BUT, another OSHA rule, 1910.1020, says employers must keep a record of employee exposures to hazardous chemicals for at least 30 years! So, keep your documentation.
That’s all for this episode on Safety Data Sheets. Come back for more ways to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, a service of Creative Safety Supply. Save 10% off your entire order at creativesafetysupply.com with coupon code BIG10.
SDS image by Thom Cheney © 2015 Creative Safety Supply; White tanks image from US Dept. Of Defense / DTRA, 2003; Turquoise tanks image by Oregon OSHA; Chuck Paulausky image © 2014 CP Safety & Environmental